Contributed by Dr. Tara E. Workman, Chiropractic Physician
Did you know that one of the main causes of facial pain is poor postural design of the head and neck in relation to the shoulders? The underlying cause of jaw clenching, headaches and excruciating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction is directly correlated to postural distortion patterns.
According to the TMJ Association, approximately 12% of the population, or 35 million people in the United States are affected by TMJ disorder at any given time. TMJ disorders are a serious problem.
Patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction will commonly present with restricted range of motion of the jaw, with reported “popping” and “clicking” of the jaw when opening and closing their mouth. TMJ disorders can range from a slight irritation to a severely debilitating condition. Advanced TMJ disorder can impact patients’ ability to eat, breathe, talk and sleep, and can give rise to teeth sensitivities, ear problems, headaches, facial nerve pain and muscular aches in the neck and shoulder region.
“Good posture is important, yet many people don’t realize how their posture affects their oral health,” says Ludwig Leibsohn, Spokesperson of the Academy of General Dentistry.
There is a strong correlation between forward head posture and backward lower jawbone posture. TMJ disorder patients typically have both forward head posture and posterior lower jaw posture. Often times there is a misalignment in their upper cervical region, which contributes to their TMJ dysfunction, headaches and upper shoulder pain.
With proper alignment of the head and the neck, the ears and shoulders are in alignment. As the head goes forward in relation to the shoulders, such as during computer use, when sending a text message and other sedentary activities, the muscles of the TMJ joints as well as all of the neck and shoulder muscles are contracted and working overtime to support the weight of the head upright against the constant force of gravity.
To correct TMJ dysfunction without specific posture correction exercises would be considered incomplete. Although the patient may feel temporary relief, the problem will almost certainly return.
At Altair Chiropractic, Dr. Tara Workman specializes in postural correction through chiropractic and therapeutic exercises to restore your posture and optimize your health. Call (907) 357-1818 to schedule your appointment today.